Office:Mac 2011 – Three Interesting Collaboration Capabilities

Microsoft released the above video about upcoming capabilities in the next edition of Office for Mac. Three items stood out to me:

  • De-siloing of Outlook … Outlook for Mac is coming, with “Entourage” going away. One of the problems I have with Outlook (and most integrated mail clients for that matter), is that they treat email data, calendar data, and task data as three separate silos. Sure, you may be able to display some things side-by-side, but you can’t correlate across different items and assemble them together for a “project,” “matter,” or “initiative” level view. From the little that is shown in the video, Outlook for Mac is starting to bring email and calendar together. I’m looking forward to learning more.
  • PowerPoint Broadcast … For many people, a subscription to a web conferencing service is about delivering presentations to remote participants. The process is to start a meeting, open the slide deck, and then present it. For people for whom this is the extend of their use, the new PowerPoint Broadcast feature is going to eliminate their need to have a web conferencing service subscription. The capability is built in to PowerPoint now.
  • Co-Authoring and Co-Editing … Office for Mac 2011 enables users to work on documents, slide decks, and Excel spreadsheets simultaneously, using either Microsoft SkyDrive or SharePoint (2010, with Web Apps). This provides a new way of working with others on documents, and is something I wrote about in the 7 Pillars a few years ago. I’m delighted to see Microsoft making progress in this space, and crossing the boundaries between Windows and Mac users. Very cool.

Update (October 1): According to ComputerWorld US, Office for Mac 2011 will be available on October 26.

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